There were two things that were remarkable about last night's New York-Miami game, a 112-92 victory for the antique Knicks. The first, predictably, was LeBron James, who put up 18 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in the first two quarters—a perfectly played half of basketball, and a reminder that there is no greater show in the NBA than LeBron James.
But then, a second remarkable thing happened. The Knicks, playing without Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and starting Kurt Thomas, managed to shove LeBron right out of the spotlight. For the second time this season, the Knicks buried the Heat in a pile of three-pointers. A team of fat guys and old guys, outcasts and castoffs, stole the show from the best player on the planet.
And they did it by playing characteristically misfit basketball. The Knicks' 18 three-pointers weren't the result of a well-planned precision attack. They simply dribbled the ball and whipped passes around the court until they found an open shooter, and when they didn't find one, they threw up the shot anyway.
The offense was frenetic and in defiance of any seeming logic. Ray Felton has no business isolating his defender 25 feet from the basket, throwing a few crossover dribbles, and then sinking yet another three-pointer with a hand in his face. And yet, that's exactly what he kept doing. As did J.R. Smith and Steve Novak and the rest of the Knicks. Maybe there was some underlying design to this—at the very least, crypto-shooting guard Jason Kidd's plus-minus of +31 suggests some sort of deep matchup juju—but all outward appearances were that the Knicks showed up on the Heat's floor and made a mess of things. Whereas LeBron specializes in a gradual, smothering mastery of his opponents, the Knicks specialize in chaos. Sometimes, chaos wins out.